Australia is comprised of the mainland and several smaller outlying islands. The country covers an area of 2,969,907 square miles, and has a population of approximately 24.2 million people. It is one of the most urbanized countries in the world, with 89.1% of the population living in cities. This article takes a look at some of the most populated cities in Australia.
The 3 Largest Cities in Australia
Sydney - 5,230,330
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the capital of the state of New South Wales. Approximately 5,230,330 people make their homes there. Originally founded as a penal colony, the city has developed into an important economic center for the country and the world. The residents come from diverse backgrounds. An estimated 1.5 million people were born outside of the country, making Sydney one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Around 32.5% of the population speaks language other than English at home. The most commonly spoken languages include Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Greek. The biggest industries in the economy include financial services, tourism, technology, and manufacturing.
Melbourne - 4,963,349
With a population of 4,963,349, Melbourne is the second largest city in the country. It is also the capital of the state of Victoria. In contrast to other cities in Australia, Melbourne was founded by free settlers rather than as a penal colony. It has been distinguished as the most livable city in the world for several years due to its high quality of education, health care, research, tourism, and entertainment. Only 63.3% of its residents were born in Australia. The most common countries of origin for Melbourne's foreign-born residents are the United Kingdom, India, China, Italy, and New Zealand. Also found within this city is the largest Greek population outside of Europe. The economy of this city is based on many industries, but finance, manufacturing, IT, research, education, and tourism are some of the strongest.
Brisbane - 2,462,637
The third largest city is Brisbane with a population of 2,462,637. It is the capital of the state of Queensland. This city was first founded as a penal colony for secondary offenders from Sydney but went on to become a free settlement by 1842. Today, the city is home to a diverse population, 29.7% of whom were born in a foreign country. The most common of these countries are the United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, and India. This city also has the largest population of Taiwanese Australian citizens in the country. Brisbane has undergone the second highest growth rate of all the state capitals. The economy here is based on IT, finance, higher education, and public administration.
Continued Population Growth
The population of Australia has been growing rapidly over the last several decades. It is expected to surpass 28 million by 2030, and potentially hit 40 million by 2050. This growth has been largely due to immigration, contributing to over half of the increase. Knowing that the population is expected to continue growing will help the government plan for the arrival of so many new residents, from both in the country and out of the country. This plan needs to include housing infrastructure to provide for the growing number of people. It is possible that Australia will see its housing style move form horizontal, single-family homes to more vertical condos and apartment buildings in order to take advantage of urban space. Because the majority of the country is covered by desert-like and other inhospitable forms of landscapes, this growth is likely to remain concentrated in the major urban centers. As the cities expand to accommodate more people, land degradation and pollution will become a problem. Additionally, this will put a strain on available water supplies and other resources. Researchers have yet to agree on how many people Australia can support. Some argue that the population is already unsustainable.